Regions vow to step up smog control

Updated: 2015-12-11 07:57

By Zheng Jinran(China Daily)

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Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin will improve monitoring network to crack down on discharges of pollutants

Beijing will double the number of air-quality monitoring stations and mobilize more monitoring vehicles to facilitate forecasts and promote effective smog control, the capital's deputy mayor said on Thursday.

Beijing lifted its first red alert on Thursday at noon after long-awaited wind blew away pollutants and brought back blue sky.

As of noon, the reading of PM2.5 - particulate matter with a diameter less than 2.5 microns that poses health risks - was 26 micrograms per cubic meter, down from 216 micrograms per cubic meter at 6 am in the six downtown districts, according to municipal air quality monitors.

The wind is forecast to maintain good air quality until Saturday, when smog is expected to again blanket the capital, reaching a severe level on Sunday. Then another spell of wind will bring blue skies back on Monday, said Sun Feng, a senior engineer at the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center.

Accurate information on weather and emissions is considered a strong tool to facilitate smog forecasting and control, helping authorities make effective decisions, said Xie Shaodong, a professor of environmental science at Peking University.

Beijing currently has 36 monitoring stations.

"As long as we have information on the coming severe smog, we will take efforts in advance to curb the air pollution," Li Shixiang, the deputy mayor, said on Thursday.

Beijing started joint inspections with neighboring Tianjin municipality and Hebei province in November.

During a four-day joint inspection starting on Dec 6, the three focused on companies in major polluting industries like power generation, iron and steel and cement.

They inspected 5,715 companies, of which 259 had failed to reduce or suspend production, the capital environmental watchdog said on Thursday.

Yang Chongyong, deputy governor of Hebei, said the inspection would be strengthened and the governments would continue to curb pollution.

"Some polluters behave well during the inspection but discharge pollutants secretly after we leave. We will improve the monitoring network to prevent the illegal discharges," Yang said.